Annie’s Leader John Foraker Departs For Organic Startup

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Golden Valley, MN — John Foraker, a leader of organic food brand Annie’s for the past 17 years, is stepping down from the company General Mills purchased in 2014 to get back to his entrepreneurial roots at a Bay Area startup he says will disrupt the organic foods industry.

The Star Tribune first reported Foraker’s departure, which he announced in a blog post.

“Many people inside and outside General Mills will speculate about why I am leaving,” Foraker wrote on Aug. 4. “My decision has absolutely nothing to do with the company’s recent struggles as it works to position itself for another 150 years. … I’ve come to love General Mills, its people and its values.”

Foraker, who had been Annie’s ceo at the time of the $820 million purchase, said he would stay on for one year as president, but wound up staying for three.

“I knew that I’d never willingly leave until I felt that the business and culture of Annie’s were strong enough post-acquisition that they could self-sustain for the long-term inside General Mills,” Foraker said. “The track record of big [consumer packaged goods companies] in this area has been spotty, yet the Annie’s acquisition has been wildly successful.”

Since the acquisition, The size of Annie’s has nearly doubled and General Mills expanded the reach from 8 million to 20 million U.S. households. During this time, Foraker wrote, “we never compromised our values, and we significantly scaled our social and environmental impact. I am so proud of that.”

(Posted on Whole Foods Magazine Online, 8/6/17)

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